Green banana flour is made from unripe green bananas and has unique properties that make it a popular choice for gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo baking. While no flour can perfectly replicate green banana flour, some alternatives share similar characteristics:
- Plantain flour
- Cassava flour
- Tigernut flour
- Fufu flour
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
When using alternative flours, it’s essential to consider the differences in taste, texture, and absorbency and adjust recipes accordingly. You may need to experiment with different flours and ratios, particularly regarding how much liquid a flour may absorb! For example, banana flour absorbs more liquid than all-purpose flour, so when substituting it, you would use only ¾ of a cup of banana flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose.
Best All-Around Banana Flour Substitute: Plantain Flour
Made from dried, ground plantains, this flour shares a similar taste and texture to green banana flour. Plantain flour is also gluten-free, grain-free, and suitable for paleo diets. You should be able to use a 1:1 substitute with banana flour, though it often depends on when the flour was processed, as the riper the fruit when it was made into flour, the less absorbent it will be.
Both flours are not sweet like you might expect, as they are usually made when the fruit is not ripe and is ‘sour.’ Both flours are high in resistant starch, which is vital for gut health.
If substituting for all-purpose flour, be aware that flours high in resistant starch may yield a gummy bake.
Best Budget-Friendly Banana Flour Substitute: Cassava Flour
Cassava flour is derived from the root of the cassava plant and is another gluten-free and grain-free option. It has a fine texture and mild flavor, making it a suitable alternative for various applications, including baking, pancakes, and tortillas. It is cheaper than banana flour and high in resistant starch, making it beneficial for gut health.
Cassava flour can be substituted one-for-one with banana flour in recipes, and also, fair warning, it can make a gummy bake.
Best Easy-to-Bake-With Banana Flour Substitute: Cassava Flour
Cassava flour is probably the easiest to bake with substitute for banana flour, mainly because it has a fairly neutral taste that lends itself well to most dishes. Cassava flour is traditionally used in Latin American dishes, like Venezuelan arepas and Colombian empanadas.
It can be used as a thickener for sauces or soups and makes a great gluten-free breading option. Best of all, due to its rising popularity as a gluten-free flour alternative, it is available in most health stores and some supermarkets.
Flour Closest in Flavor to Banana Flour: Plantain Flour
Plantain flour is the closest flavor to banana flour, as it is made from dried, unripe plantains, similar to banana flour made from dried, unripe bananas. Plantain flour is commonly used to make flatbreads in Latin American cultures. It can also be used as a substitute for cornmeal when making arepas or empanadas.
Best Neutral-Flavor Substitute for Banana Flour: Cassava Flour
The most neutral-tasting substitute for banana flour is cassava flour. Cassava flour comes from a reasonably neutral-tasting root vegetable with a potato-like texture, so its flavor profile is easily masked by other ingredients in your recipe or bake. This is why it also makes a great thickening agent for sauces.
Best Healthy Substitute for Banana Flour: Cassava Flour
Cassava flour is a great healthy alternative to banana flour. The main nutritional bonus of green banana flour is that it is really high in resistant starch, which is super important for a healthy gut microbiome. Cassava flour is also high in resistant starch. Do keep in mind, though, that resistant starch breaks down when exposed to heat, so if you are using these flours specifically for their resistant starch content, best use them in raw dishes, like smoothies.
Best High-Fiber Substitute for Banana Flour: Cassava Flour Or Tigernut Flour
Tigernut flour is made from ground tiger nuts, which are small tubers, more like potatoes than nuts. This flour is gluten-free, grain-free, and has a fiber content of 3 grams per ¼ cup, and cassava flour contains 2 grams of fiber per ¼ cup. This might not sound that high in fiber, but compared to banana flour’s 1 gram, it is double and triple that!
Best Gluten-Free Alternative to Banana Flour: Plantain Flour
While banana flour is gluten-free, if you are looking for the easiest gluten-free direct substitute, then plantain flour is your guy. It can be subbed one for one and has similar properties when it comes to nutrition, flavor, and baking properties.
Best Lower Calorie Substitute for Banana Flour: Fufu Flour
If you are looking for a low-calorie alternative to banana flour, have you heard of fufu flour? Fufu flour contains only 106 calories per ¼ cup serving compared to banana flour’s 160 calorie content in the same size serving.
Fufu flour is a type of starchy flour used in West African cuisine to make a popular dish called fufu, a smooth, dough-like side dish often served with soups, stews, or sauces. Fufu flour can be made from various starchy sources, often mixed together, such as yam, cassava, and plantain.
Best High Protein Substitute For Banana Flour: Fufu Flour
Fufu flour is also higher in protein than green banana flour, with 3.5g of protein compared to banana flour’s 1g per ¼ cup. As fufu flour varies in terms of which ingredients are used to make it, the nutritional values might differ from brand to brand, so be sure to check the labels.
Best Keto Substitute For Banana Flour: Almond Flour Or Coconut Flour
There are not many keto-friendly flours on the market due to their usually high carbohydrate content. However, coconut flour and almond flour may work as substitutes. These flours are much more oily/fatty than green banana flour, so fat ingredients may have to be adjusted to avoid a greasy bake and add extra binders, but aside from that, they can work in many of the same dishes that green banana flour can.
Coconut flour is also highly absorbent and may require more liquid in recipes compared to green banana flour.
Best Paleo/Whole30 Substitute For Banana Flour: Plantain Flour
Plantain flour is suitable for paleo and Whole30 diets, so it gets my vote for the best green banana flour substitute in this category. Plantain is naturally grain-free and gluten-free as it is made with the whole fruit of the plantain and is considered unprocessed too.
They are vastly different! In this article (and generally), when banana flour is discussed, people mean green banana flour, but ripe banana flour is a (less popular) thing too! Banana flour is made from ripe bananas, while green banana flour is made from unripe bananas, leading to differences in taste, texture, and nutritional content, particularly in sweetness and resistant starch levels, so when purchasing, make sure you’ve grabbed the right kind.
Yes, you can, and I usually only eat it raw as an addition to smoothies and oats or a gut fiber blend for the resistant starch. When resistant starch is heated, the granules break down, absorb water, swell, and become gummy (hence the gummy bake), but the starch also loses some resistance!
However, if you just want a gluten-free alternative flour and don’t care much about the resistant starch content, bake away!